On Cohesion, and on attempts to narrowly define what the DC tech community is

This is based on no real information, and includes events and groups I haven’t participated with, but I submit to you that the graphic below is a *reasonable* snapshot of the local tech community, even with at least two notable blind-spots (Enterprise IT and Government Everything).

Also note that the two axis I’ve chosen do not represent any sort of value judgement. I personally find the stuff on the right more interesting,  but I’m glad it all exists.


(I’ve opened up discussion on the chart itself over on the network)

Here’s what I see: a local technology community that is as diverse, vital, and idiodyncratic as the place where it lives. I don’t think it’s broken or deficient, and even if it was “broken”,  it’s so big and so crazy that any idea for fixing it is as likely to work as any solution for “fixing” an ecosystem.

I don’t mean to pick on Jimmy, but his recent post Do We Lack Cohesion? shows the same symptom I see with other people who spend s lot of time at the “left-side”, network-y events: they define the “tech community” as the small slice they care about. Most often what they really mean is the startup community, the web developer community, or both.

The point I’m trying to make is: please, everyone, just stop doing that. Yes, if you slice a piece of bread you have two new things, both called “bread”— but if you slice the local tech community along lines of interest or agenda, you can’t call that new thing you’ve defined “The DC Tech Community”. It’s a subset of the larger thing.

Please? Just call it something else.

Back to Jimmy’s post, what he’s suggesting is an overarching organization to help avoid split audiences (where there are multiple simultaneous events that a person might be interested in) to improve cohesion in (wait for it…)  the DC Tech Community. If he really means the entire  technology community, then he’s crazy to even attempt to impose order on the whole thing. If (as I suggest above) he really means just a certain class of events, then it’s a great idea. Yeah, someone ought to make sure that Tech Cocktail and NextDC and Social Media Club and RefreshDC aren’t scheduled on top of each other.  I think he’s off-target in including the blogger meetup in his example (there are some tech people who go, but it’s a group that is mostly uninterested in the other events mentioned), but it doesn’t detract from the need he has identified.

Just don’t call it the DC Tech Community 😉

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